Real Estate News

Fire Up Your Brand With Debra Trappen

Late last year, I embarked on a journey never to be forgotten.

Luigi Favaro introduced himself to me at a local real estate event and asked if I would be interested in joining a six city tour the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) hosts annually. It sounded intriguing, so we continued the conversation.  Around the same time, my first book (Fire Up! Taking Your Life and Business to 11) was about to be published. When Luigi and OREA suggested we partner up to make it a Fire Up! keynote with a book signing and wanted to provide a book for each of the attendees – I was IN and (of course) FIRED UP!

Next step was to get my NEXUS pass (best $80 I have ever spent in my business) and hop on a plane from Seattle, WA to Toronto, ON.  The whirlwind OREA EMERGE Tour began.  The first stop was in Ottawa, followed by Peterborough, Sudbury, Burlington, Stratford and Mississauga.

Now, I have been to oooooodles of events in Ontario, however never to an EMERGE before this tour.  The energy was sensational, the EMERGE team was magical together, and the RE professionals attending were filled with passion and a desire to learn, grow and connect.  New, life-long friends were made in every city!  There are many blog posts and stories still to be written about the magnificent hospitality of folks like Marianne and David Bournes, Lori VanDinther, Michelle Wobst, Jennifer Evelyn, Ray and Amie Ferris, John Oddi, Crystal Henderson… and many many more!

One of my favorite tour memories was hearing everyone’s story when they visited me at the Vimo table (check out this KILLER APP here: – to sign their Fire Up! book.  I made sure to ask each person a couple of questions and it was such a joy to hear all of their answers.

  • How long have you been in the business?
    I hear everything from 3 days to 38 years!
  • Who is your IDEAL client?
    The OVERWHELMINGLY popular answer to this question was First Time Home Buyers.  When I would ask WHY most of the answers were around the love of teaching the process to young buyers and helping them make the wisest decision possible. A few agents shared some AMAZING new niche market ideas and I look forward to seeing come to fruition.  

It was also an incredible honor to serve alongside the other phenomenal tour speakers and educators. Here are some of my favorite takeaways from each of them:

John-Ross expertly wrangled Consumer Panels – across the Province!
Consumers prefer communication: First, email… then a text. Key highlights:

  • They like technology in the process, but still want a paper contract at the end.
  • They want to receive an email/note from their Realtor 3-4 times a year and a birthday or Christmas card would be greatly appreciated!
  • They want a personalized closing gift.
  • They do realize the importance of – and want to work with – a Realtor!


Kelley Skar:
First, he loves to stir the pot.  Second, he is passionate about making change in the industry. Kelley expertly shared his knowledge of systems. In a nutshell:

  • Have a process plan.
  • Choose the tools you will USE.
  • Work your plan.
  • Refine your plan.
  • Communicate with your clients – A LOT.
  • USE VIDEO.  Stop worrying about how you look or sound.  You are who you are.  Get over it.

(I am paraphrasing… Kelley was a bit more colorful in his use of words. lol)

Favorite quote:

“I promised that I wouldn’t drop the big F bomb today… If you want to hear me swear later, join my breakout session.”


Andrew Fogliato:
Andrew WOW’ed the attendees with his killer knowledge of how the “Digital Marketing Funnel” works!  He broke down how retargeting ads can truly build your business in a way that made perfect sense.  Andrew also shared the importance of a KILLER headline.  The one about a headless body in a topless bar was HILARIOUS.

Favorite story:

Andrew shared the story of how a young woman’s pregnancy was uncovered by Target – before her family even knew!  It received GASPS and giggles – in every single city!

P.s. I have already been able to refer a client to Andrew and look forward to connecting him with many more in the year ahead!


Jeff O’Leary:

Jeff is so passionate about “Leveraging Your Neighbourhood” (notice my Canadian spelling skills!)

Being a specialist in your niche is key to building a prosperous business.  Don’t be afraid to share YOUR thoughts on local haunts and events.  The key to a niche is about making it personal.  Amen, Jeff!

Favorite story:

Jeff shared his rollercoaster ride of being an agent, getting in the flow, then having a baby… getting back in the flow, then having another baby… getting back into the flow, and (yep) having ANOTHER baby.  lol


John-Ross Parks:
John-Ross is and was an icon on this tour.  He has been involved since the tour’s inception and, by the way, the crowd adores him. It is no wonder OREA keeps inviting him back!

John-Ross is a sass on a mission to help shift mindsets in his fellow Realtors to EMBRACE PAPERLESS.  He shared so many tips and truth on how going paperless will save time, as well as dropped a list of great apps and tools for the audience to test for themselves.

He has grown up in the real estate industry and I can’t wait to see him blossom into a legendary leader in Canada and beyond!

Favorite story:

When John-Ross shared the story of his youthful impetuousness telling his Mom and Nana that “he deserved an office of his own” and how he worked it all out the entire room roared and other “Mamas and Nanas” in the room shook their heads and smiled. Totally priceless.


Cassandra Agnew Walker:
Bottom line: This brilliant woman MAKES FORMS FUN.  Cassandra shared her extensive knowledge on Form #801 to shed light on the WHY and HOW to use it, as well as shared tips and truths around eSignatures – all while keeping the room engaged and interested.  She also answered audience questions with expert advice and shared stories to make it REAL.

Favorite story:

Totally unrelated to the conference… However, I loved learning about Cassandra’s love of coins.  I have my coin hanging in my home as a reminder of the tour and to remind me to always find out about other’s passions.  We all have a unique, interesting story to share!

My soultank is overflowing, as is my gratefulness for the time on OREA’s EMERGE tour.  I look forward to many more adventures in Ontario – including bringing my full-day workshop to help those who are ready to take their lives and businesses to 11!

Want to keep in touch? There are several options to connect here, as well as a few Fire Up! goodies for you:, or you can email me at – anytime!

Cheers and Blessings!


I also learned there is some EPIC karaoke and bowling talent in this bunch.  SO MUCH FUN! 🙂

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